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Factors For Successful Acupuncture Treatment In Pets

 


“Can acupuncture help my pet?” This is of course what every pet owner wants to know above all else when considering a visit to Asia Paws.  Dr. Susanna Brida-Hofherr has reflected upon her experiences treating all manner of pets – dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and the occasional horse – to consider what works.

Some pets respond almost immediately to acupuncture. Others take a much longer time, and some never regain the desired health. What are the similarities among patients successfully being treated with acupuncture?  She has found three specific characteristics which will play roles in how favourably a patient responds to acupuncture.

 
Owner’s Persistence

Instant gratification is a sign of our time. Although Malaysian pet owners rarely expect immediate results, they must acknowledge that imbalances in their pets’ bodies have often built up over years – they will not disappear within two or three treatments. Acupuncture treatments work cumulatively, which means that one treatment builds on the next.

Dr. Susanna offers a standard treatment course of eight sessions, once a week or more frequently, depending on the severity, chronic nature and urgency of a health problem. These first eight sessions will produce some improvement, sometimes even complete recovery. The total number of treatments needed depends on several factors:  age, general health (or “Qi status”), on how long a disease was allowed to manifest, and on the nature of a condition.

Certain acute problems, such as intervertebral disc disease with pain and muscle strains as well as early-stage paresis, typically resolve within the eight sessions, and sometimes even fewer.

Chronic diseases, especially those associated with a functional weakness of organs or low immunity, require long-term treatment. Examples of such conditions are allergies, various skin disorders and neurological diseases.

Urgent conditions, such as severe pain, may require two to three treatments per week until symptoms are controlled, followed by less frequent visits until the condition is stabilised. Once the animal is stable, a treatment frequency of once a month or less for maintenance is viable.

Just as medications are ineffective unless the prescribed dose is given, if your pet doesn’t get acupuncture frequently and consistently enough within an appropriate time frame, it is unlikely to experience the desired result.

 
The Patient’s “Energy Qi

Acupuncture works with the energy in your pet’s body to promote healing. If your pet’s energy is low at the start, acupuncture has less to work with. Before acupuncture can affect the illness that made you seek treatment for your pet, the acupuncturist needs to work on restoring your pet’s “baseline”.

One key factor is constitutional strength. If at the beginning of acupuncture treatment your pet is already physically or emotionally depleted, or if your pet suffers from a debilitating disease or exhausting lifestyle (stress, breeding, inappropriate nutrition), then results will take longer.

Acupuncturists can boost energy by stimulating certain acupuncture points, and pet owners can help by using traditional herbal therapies at home, such as moxibustion, to promote movement throughout the channels and accelerate the healing process.

Depending on how low your pet’s energy level is, boosting Qi levels can take anywhere from one to several sessions before work on the actual problem can begin.

 
Your Pet is What Your Pet is Fed

You’ve heard the expression, “You are what you eat.”  This motto is every bit as true for pets as it is for humans, and nutrition and lifestyle contribute significantly to success with acupuncture. If your pet’s body is not being properly nourished on a regular basis, it’s going to face an uphill battle when pushed to heal itself.

During the first acupuncture appointment, Dr Susanna establishes life-long eating habits. She continues to record a patient’s eating habits during most follow up consultations. This is necessary to gauge whether diet could be contributing to or aggravating symptoms. Sometimes even foods that are considered “healthy” according to Western dietary standards may be detrimental for your pet’s specific constitution.

Other lifestyle questions help to paint a picture of the pet’s holistic well-being:  Where does the animal live? How much and what kind of exercise is provided? Who takes care of the pet?

Acupuncture requires thinking about health in a whole new way, quite different from what most of us are used to. Healing with acupuncture happens when the patient and practitioner enter a true partnership, a situation where the acupuncturist really listens to both the animal patient and the human caretaker, and when the pet owners are open to a new perspective on health. Only then can acupuncture produce the outcomes we all so desire.



 

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Amanda Coffin

Amanda is a long-time resident of Kuala Lumpur. She lives with two cats and is PetFinder.my's Forum Moderator. She also owns her own freelance writing and editing company, Stylus Inc.

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